Unlicensed breeder pleads guilty to animal cruelty

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Chester County SPCA found 29 abused Samoyeds during August raid

By Kathleen Brady SheaManaging Editor, The Times

The dogs seized from an unlicensed kennel in Landenberg were Samoyeds, a breed like the one pictured here, used originally for pulling sleds and reindeer herding.

Mutilated kittens, cats shot by arrows and BBs, dogs burned in bags and cages, and an emaciated pitbull left for dead. These are just some of the horrific discoveries experienced this past year by animal-control officers from the Chester County SPCA.

Despite thorough investigations that often involve necropsies at New Bolton Center, animal-cruelty convictions are infrequent. Unless witnesses come forward, there is seldom enough evidence to press criminal charges since the victims can’t communicate.

Fortunately, exceptions occur, said Rich Britton, a spokesman for the Chester County SPCA. He said yesterday Linda Wilson, an unlicensed breeder in Landenberg, pleaded guilty in Kennett Square District Court to one count of animal cruelty.

Wilson, 57, was ordered  to pay $5000 restitution to the Chester County SPCA and surrender 29 Samoyeds seized from the unsafe conditions on her property, Britton said. In addition, Wilson will spend 90 days on probabtion. The penalty stemmed from a raid the agency conducted of Wilson’s kennel  on Aug. 3, Britton said.

“We are very proud of Chester County SPCA’s Animal Protective Services Officers’ ongoing fight against animal cruelty and thrilled at the outcome of this case, “ said  Chester County SPCA Board President Conrad Muhly  “These dogs were rescued from living in deplorable conditions, and now they will find the loving, forever homes they deserve when they come up for adoption within a couple of weeks.”

Court records indicate that Wilson has a lengthy history of dog-law violations dating back to 2008. Her  convictions range from failing to maintain sanitary conditions to disturbing the peace, records said.

Britton said the animal-advocacy agency, an independent nonprofit that has been serving the county since 1929, has had a challenging year. In addition to completing a much-needed expansion of its West Goshen facility, the Chester County SPCA typically investigates an average of 450 complaints a year of animal abuse.

CCSPCA investigators could always use the public’s help with leads on unsolved abuse or donations, Britton said. Anyone with information should contact CCSPCA at 610-692-6113, ext. 213 or emailcruelty@ccspca.org. All tips are confidential, and anonymous tips are welcome.

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13 Comments

  1. Michael says:

    The SCA (Samoyed Club of America) should step up and not only shun this person but also publicly denounce her actions and kick her off SCA! I suspect that there are a lot more people involved or very well aware of the deplorable situation of these poor innocent dogs! They too should be called out! (Do you hear me CO-OWNERS!!!) I don’t care about people ‘reputations.’ I care more about the dogs! This is a travesty to our breed!

  2. Dave says:

    How is anyone defending this lady. She is sick and should go to jail. Regardless if the 29 dogs were sick before or after SPCA, what is she doing with 29 dogs?
    This lady makes me sick, she is evil and belongs in jail for a long time. This is no different than mike Vick and he did his time. She should as well. Solitary.

  3. Dogs says:

    The pictures you saw, were they the day of the raid or after being in the care of the SPCA for months?
    It does seem odd that if 29 dogs were in that bad of shape there would only be 1 guilty and only 90 days probation. It would be nice to see more in depth information concerning this.

    • J says:

      It is quite common for guilty pleas to be much less (both in counts and penalty) than is contained in the original charges. This is a function of the court system needing to move cases in as efficient a manner s possible.

      In order to understand the complete circumstances, the reader must do additional research and cannot rely entirely upon newspaper accounts or guilty pleas. You are urged to access readily available additional information which provides much information about the condition of the dogs and the efforts to rescue and rehabilitate them. I have accessed that information. Once I accessed that information, I am so thankful to the rescue organizations, news coverage, volunteers, foster and adoptive homes and the law enforcement officials who stepped up to the plate. They deserve our appreciation and support.

  4. What???? says:

    I have seen pictures of the seized dogs. These are not well cared for animals. They are filthy, ears full of dirt and matter, eyes crusted over, skin oily and itchy to the point of bleeding. Good riddance to this terrible person.

  5. Facts Only! says:

    Very misleading article! First the place was owned by a sister to the person who pleaded guilty to ONE count of animal cruelty that was directed to an old dog she had a Vet. appt. for that day but wasn’t allowed to bring the dog by the SPCA. Even the intial video of the “raid” showed well groomed and healthy looking dogs – not what your article tried to lead us to believe. Very one-sided article all from the prespective of the SPCA. Other people (on the police record) not affiliated with the SPCA who were there, could have given you FACTUAL information on the conditions. But then it wouldn’t have been such a “sensational” article, would it have been? No longer will read your one-sided paper!

  6. Yakova says:

    I definitely expected that some of the initial atrocities were associated with this woman and was surprised that they weren’t. Your two comments shed a lot of light I feel you should’ve shed in the article itself because I think that it is really important to see such a success where it usually doesn’t exist. The info about being visited many times by the SPCA Is crucial! Her punishment seems minimal, no? I think abusing animals should warrant more serious repercussions!

    On another note, I feel like the two comments were pretty ridiculously harsh. They seemed aggressive even!

  7. maureen@cia-adv.com says:

    Kathleen, I have to agree with Mary. Your lede was sensationalism at best. Your responsibility as a reporter is to report the facts. The first paragraph was leading the reader to believe those things happened in Linda’s property and it was irresponsible “journalism.” Frankly, I’m surprised your editor let that through.

    • KBS2012 says:

      Thanks for your feedback and your readership. Perhaps I have been too influenced by having to cover so many of these atrocities, many of which weren’t mentioned, as well as routinely seeing the faces of these underpaid workers from the Chester County SPCA in the process. The point was not to suggest this defendant committed those crimes, but to explain why her guilty plea was so significant to a struggling agency that has endured a painfully challenging year.

    • J says:

      I disagree. A careful reading of the article reveals that it reports on the work of the Chester County SPCA. The article is clear about the Samoyed case being one example provided regarding a successful prosecution. Kathleen Shea, the managing editor, should be commended for reporting such a balanced and informative article. As for readership, be assured that your readership is climbing because we appreciate the reports of these important matters and we are watching closely to continue to read about the continued progress of the dogs. Thank you!

  8. Mary Wolf says:

    I was offended by this article. The article is uninformative and sensationalistic. Initially I thought this person was shooting animals or something.

    The wording ‘lengthy history’ has connotations like a really bad person that has been robbing or killing for years.

    I believe that the writer of this article should really learn to write better articles.

    • Kathleen Brady Shea says:

      I was sorry to read your reaction to the story; however, I don’t believe the reporting was inaccurate. The Chester County SPCA, which does not have a reputation for being overzealous in rescuing animals, made dozens of trips to this property for an extended period of time. Even when the owner knew in advance that inspectors were coming, she was unable to prevent the seizure of 29 animals, according to court records.

      • J says:

        I have been following this situation, both through the media and independently. I found your reporting balanced and informative. In my opinion, it was not sensationalism in the least. If anything, it could be argued that your reporting may have been quite reserved and perhaps even understated, considering the documented conditions of the dogs. If there is any criticism to be made, it would be that more details could/should be provided to make the situations even more clear to the readership. You provided that detail in these comments and I much appreciate it. Please provide us with many more articles about the valiant and terrific efforts of the Chester County SPCA, the underpaid workers, the volunteers, the rescue organizations. Do more stories on the fantastic rescue successes, the persons who donated large sums of money from other countries to help defray the costs if medical care for the dogs, of the terrific success story of the dogs flown to Denver and of the dog with birth defects to her legs who has found a wonderful home. We want more stories and we want the success stories, However, we also want the stories on the conditions that gave rise to the need for rescue as well.

        Keep it coming! The fully documented conditions of the dogs tells the whole story. Please know that there is a VERY large contingent of canine and Samoyed supporters who are fully informed and much appreciate your reporting. To the extent that they may be somewhat quiet, it is merely because their priority is devoting their time, attention and resources to helping the dogs and finding them safe, loving homes. Thanks you once again for caring and for reporting this important information. We want you to continue shining light on such situations and we want you to know that we appreciate the reporting of these incidents as well as follow up stories on the continuing efforts to prevent these situations. Please do NOT misinterpret our relative quietness incorrectly.

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